Texas Polygamy Case: Based on a Hoax?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 18, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: This is a "FOX News Alert." The fate of the FLDS children, 416 of them, taken from a Texas polygamist compound has been decided, at least temporarily. A Texas judge ruled that all 416 children will remain in state custody and will be subject to DNA testing. Individual hearings will be set for the children over the next several weeks.

Now, the news tonight, 33-year-old Rosita Swinton just arrested in Colorado for filing a false police report, pretending to be an abused girl locked in a basement. But it gets even more bizarre. Who else has Swinton been calling? Well, Swinton has many, many times called Flora Jessop, a former FLDS church member who now runs a rescue mission for teen girls trying to escape.

Flora joins us live in Arizona. Flora, welcome. And when was the first time you got a call from Rosita?

FLORA JESSOP, FORMER POLYGAMIST CHILD BRIDE: I first got a call on March 30, about 8:30 in the morning, from what I presumed to be a young girl that claimed to be 16 years old in Colorado City. She gave me addresses in Colorado City that she was presumably in. And it's interesting for me to hear that she was arrested in Colorado for claiming to be a 13-year-old girl locked up in a basement because that's one of the claims that this girl had made to me about Colorado City. She claimed that she was being sexually abused by her father. She claimed that she was the twin sister of the girl, Sarah, who was in Texas. She claimed that she was supposed to be being sent to Texas a month after being married. Just a number of things.

Watch Greta's interview with Flora Jessop

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you -- this phone call that you received on the 30th, do you think or know or suspect that this is Rosita Swinton or is it still up in the air, in your mind?

JESSOP: No, the call that I received on the 30th was definitely the same person that I've been speaking with for the last two weeks.

VAN SUSTEREN: Prior to the 30th. Prior to the 30th.

JESSOP: Prior to the 30th? I didn't speak to her prior to the 30th. I received the first phone call on the 30th.


JESSOP: And then for the next two weeks, I received phone calls from this person.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, in the course of the search warrant that the state used to go into the -- to conduct the raid, they mentioned the name Dale Barlow, or at least in a court hearing. Do you know where that name came from?

JESSOP: I'm not sure where that name came from, except it was from my understanding that the girl that made the initial call to Texas had mentioned that she was married to a Dale Barlow. Now, at one point during my conversations with the girl I was speaking with, I had actually asked her and confronted her with that information and said, If you're the twin sister of Sarah, Sarah is in Texas, Dale Barlow is in Colorado City, things don't add up here.

And she said, Well, can we pretend? And I said, yes, we can pretend. And she said, Well, then let's pretend that when Sarah called, she couldn't tell the name of her husband because then she would be hurt worse. So Sarah actually used the name Dale Barlow because Dale Barlow was hurting her twin sister in Colorado City. And I said, So are we pretending that Sarah was trying to get help for both Sarah and Laura because they were both being hurt? And she said, yes, let's pretend that. I asked her, I said, Can we pretend that Dale Barlow is Laura's (ph) -- the twin sister's new dad? And she said, No, let's not pretend that. And she was very elaborate in her ruse, very well rehearsed. It's my understanding she was caught with -- when they went into her apartment, that they found reams and documents and just tons of information on the FLDS.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so here's what I don't get. If it didn't add up to you, this Dale Barlow, and you were suspicious, do you have any theory why it didn't add up to the Texas authorities before they went to a judge and got a warrant and went in? If you were suspicious, as a non-law enforcement, why -- you know, why didn't they have some suspicion that this was a hoax?

JESSOP: You know, Greta, she was very convincing. Obviously, she's been doing this for a long time. I would like to point out that the system absolutely worked in this case. When -- as hotlines get calls from children purporting to be abused, just as I do, it's not my responsibility and my job to decide whether those calls are legitimate.

VAN SUSTEREN: No, it's the state.


JESSOP: ... Over to the proper authorities. They go and investigate.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not critical...


JESSOP: The system absolutely worked.

VAN SUSTEREN: Flora, I'm not the least bit -- you know, I understand exactly. And that was what you should do if you get a call. You should turn it over. What I don't understand is that if you were suspicious of it and turned it over to the people who were supposed to be investigating it and they weren't suspicious, and it turns out to be a hoax, that's unusual.


JESSOP: It's very unusual that a hoax is carried out to this proportion. And that just goes to show how smart or how much this woman has done this type of thing. I think she's very disturbed and I hope she gets help for that. But I also, in a little bit of a way, want to give her a hug because she's protected hundreds of children from the abuses, the widespread systematic abuses they were suffering in this group.

VAN SUSTEREN: Except for, just as an aside, is that -- I mean, at least as far as we know, what's being reported tonight, at least from lawyers who represent them, that we're talking about five people, which is less than 1 percent of the 400 that are seized. But a lot of investigation still to go on. Flora, thank you, and I hope you'll come back.

JESSOP: Thank you, Greta.

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